IsoGreco – experiments in Blender

When Isometrics and Greece get mixed in a Blender

Here’s a new thing I’ve been working on in Blender.

As usual, it started as an accident. I was trying to create a fractal landscape using a subdivided grid, a subdivision surface modifier and a displace modifier with a cloud texture. By chance, moving through the cloud’s settings, I saw at the top cell noise. By setting the cell depth of the cell setting to 1, I had a large square block displacement. Changing it to two, this give me an overlay layer of half sized on top of the originals. Changing that up to 4 gave the look of the land

Seeing the Minecraft-esque look, I immediately changed the camera to an orthographic and moved it to an isometric angle. I decided it would be nice to have a shader that emulated the land and water levels using RGB constants on a colour ramp. I’ve done something similar before in Maya, but never in blender. I started with a principled shader, added a colorRamp into the colour. In order to map it only in the Z, I separated off the Z position from a Geometry Input Node – giving me a value of 0 to 1 in the Z, and added this into the factor of the colorRamp. This then maps the colorRamp from 0 to 1 vertically, the top and bottom colours carrying on into infinity. Multiplying this value by 4 made it go from 0 to 1 over a distance of 0 to .25 (I realise I could have easily remapped that with a different node now) and added a little amount to that value to move it up a touch on the Z and match better to my displacement height.

The shader on the land

To add a little variation to the edges, I mixed into the colour a darker version of the colorRamp using the Pointiness of the Geometry Input node. Such a wonderful input, it uses object edge angles similar to a dirtPass in V-Ray and, using a crunched up colorRamp as the controller, I was able to add the darkened edges over the original colorRamp.

The sea was a Plane but with a very simple translucent shader on it. This made it possible to see whatever was just below the surface clearly, but added a little blur as the ground was further away. Mixed with a glossy shader to add a little reflection, I stopped there with the water.

But I wanted something more. So I built a tiny ship using two different block sizes to try and emulate a similar feel to the landscape.


Importing this, I shrunk it down and added it into the water, duplicating it a couple of times.

So that is where it is right now.

3840 x 2160 desktop PNG. Just right click and chose “save as” and it’s yours.

If you put this on your computer or desktop, or you want the blend file, just let me know.

Bye for now!

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